JOSEPH “Jo Mersa” Marley, son of Stephen Marley and grandson of Bob Marley, died on Tuesday of a reported asthma attack, according to South Florida radio station WZPP.
The 31-year-old was allegedly found unresponsive in his motor car at an undisclosed location in the United States.
Shortly after the news broke Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Olivia “Babsy” Grange expressed sympathy at the young entertainer’s sudden passing.
In an official statement to the Jamaica Observer she hailed the entertainer as an integral part of the Jamaica 60 celebrations in the United States this year.
“I am deeply saddened by the news that artiste Joseph Marley, son of reggae star Stephen Marley and grandson of reggae superstar Bob Marley, has died. We were graced by Joseph, whose stage name was Jo Mersa, performing at our Jamaica 60 Launch in Miramar, Florida, United States, in May this year,” the statement read in part.
Grange further extended her condolences to the singer’s family, noting that his contribution will be missed in the music fraternity.
“I extend my deepest condolences to Stephen Jo’s mom, Kerry, the Marleys and other family members. My heartfelt sympathies to Joseph’s friends and associates and to the reggae music fraternity and fans everywhere. His untimely passing at the young age of 31-year-old is a huge loss to the music as we look to the next generation. May he find eternal peace as we mourn his loss during this season of goodwill when we celebrate with family and friends our love for each other,” the statement concluded.
Opposition Leader Mark Golding also took to social media to send his heartfelt wishes.
“The loss of a child is a devastating blow and something no parent is prepared for, I send my condolences to Stephen and the entire Marley family. May he rest in eternal peace,” he said in a statement on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Leah Tavares-Finson, sister of Jo Mersa’s uncle Damian Marley, posted, “Rest easy my darling nephew,” with crying emojis.
Jo Mersa was known for songs such as Burn it Down, Made It, and No Way Out.
Reggae king Bob Marley died on May 11, 1981 of cancer. He was 36.